Sunday, December 15, 2013

the signs were everywhere

words to remember
24x48 acrylic on canvas

In August we traveled to Europe on a dream trip we had planned for 15 years.  We wanted to take the Kids to Denmark to see where Alan's heritage was from. Along the way we stopped in England and Sweden. It was a fun and wild adventure for five without a tour guide.  The signage was so great, we rarely had a map on us.  

It is amazing how informative signage can be if you would only pay attention. When we returned from our trip it was October - the month of breast cancer awareness. All around me there were signs spreading the word that women need to be aware and watchful of the disease.  I was oblivious to these - so sure I was in complete health, immune to cancer. That was someone else's disease.

Now I know one in eight women will get Breast Cancer and the numbers are increasing as time goes on. Regular screenings are recommended for women over 50, however each year the number of women diagnosed in their 20's, 30's, and 40's is increasing. Breast cancer does not discriminate.  Most of these women will find it on their own but you need to read the signs.  For most this will be a lump they find in their breast that won't go away...but for me it was the mammogram. Looking back, 'now' I see I missed some other signs.  I had a strange intense flair up of allergies. I even went to see a specialist to figure it out but we couldn't pin it down. Now I know this was a clue that my immune system was on override.  There was a foreign element in my body and my cells were on all out attack mode.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


It has been a very long while since I last posted! So much has happened - it has been a monumental year. There were terrible awful horrible moments when cancer struck my father and then it struck me...but there has also been great moments of joy and adventure when our family set out for Europe to discover our roots and I went from a cancer patient to a cancer survivor. Somewhere in all of it is a really good story. 

The best place to begin is with one word, GRACE.   I am not a regular church goer but I am an Episcopalian. When I heard the news that I first had cancer and death was at my side I turned to God for comfort without hesitating. Then when I heard the news my cancer was operable and that it had not spread - all I could think of was "Thank you!"  I just felt so so so grateful to God for giving me more time to be with those I love and for being there for all of us.  Each day as time goes on.. I am trying to live a GRACE-FULL  life.   This is not always easy during chemotherapy on the days when I am not feeling so great.  In those moments I have to look back and remember death to call back the joy.  It is with this great irony that death brings new life to me. 

I used to think this poem by e.e. cummings, somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond - was about love between two lovers but now I think it is about something else. a dance between me. life. death. and God.

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers, 
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and 
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines 
the snow carefully everywhere descending:

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals 
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture 
compels me with the color of its countries, 
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens: only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands